Whether they are australian labradoodle puppies, french bulldogs or golden retrievers,
people often wonder when the best time to train their puppy is. The answer? If you want a balanced, obedient and happy pup, start right away.

Puppies are smart. While it may seem impossible to resist their cuteness, your puppy has to learn acceptable behaviors early. Luckily for you, puppies are hard-wired to follow a pack leader. That’s you! They’ll learn everything from you-the good, the bad, the ugly. So it’s important that you guide them with consistency and a calm, assertive energy.

Here are four training areas to focus on:

Potty Training: To Crate or Not to Crate?

Puppies tiny bladders and lots of teeth that love to chew. It’s wonderful and terrible at the same time. One thing all dogs learn early is never to pee in their dens, which is why it’s important to set up a routine to take them outside. You might need to visit https://www.lawncare.net/service-areas/illinois/ to organise some additional lawn care, but this is definitely preferable to letting your puppy make a mess all over the house for you to clean up. If your dog has run of the house, it’s harder to teach them that the house is a no-pee zone. Crating your pup is helpful because it also keeps him from getting into massive amounts of trouble-especially if you aren’t home with him all day to supervise. When you teach your pup to go from the crate to the door to the yard to potty, he’ll quickly learn that peeing is done outside. It’ll also prevent chewed-up sofas and other naughty messes. However, crates don’t teach respect, and they shouldn’t be used for discipline. Respect and discipline should come from you, the pack leader. So don’t forget to give your puppy a healthy outlet from being cooped up. Take walks. Socialize with other dogs. And let him chew on acceptable items, like dog toys and chew bones.IMG_0598

Boundaries: The Couch is for the Human.

Yeah, you just want to cuddle with that fluff-ball all day. But you have to teach puppy some boundaries, and the couch is a great place to start. (Your guests will thank you, too.) Nobody wants a dog that owns the house. The house is your space. Puppy has to learn where he can and cannot go. Floor: mostly his. Couch: human territory, by invitation only. Other boundaries to create early? No jumping. No biting. And no pulling on the leash (best taught young when they aren’t as big and strong). Boundaries like these are healthy for puppies because they teach respect and submission. It’s up to you to follow-through, though. When your pup bites, you have to react. When he jumps on the couch without permission, you have to make sure he gets down. Like potty training, consistency is key. A firm “no” works, but if your puppy isn’t listening, use calm, assertive energy and a gentle but firm touch. When touch comes into play, it helps snap their brains out of the bad behavior so you can help them refocus on good behavior. (In their world, dogs nip and bite each other to set boundaries and establish who’s the Alpha dog). Just remember that discipline is a blessing and the best way to raise a healthy, happy dog.

Exercise: The Importance of the Walk.

Puppies have lots of energy. Most people think playing fetch is the best way to burn off that energy. In reality, playtime just makes them more hyper and excited. Daily walks are crucial for raising a healthy, balanced dog because walks help your puppy focus his energy productively. It’s an exercise for the mind as well as the body. When you walk your puppy (the key being you walk him, either with you in front or him beside you), he’ll learn to see you as his pack leader. Plus, it helps him socialize with other dogs and become acquainted with new sights, sounds and smells. Just make sure your puppy has all his necessary shots before venturing into the world so that he stays healthy.

Affection: When and How to Reward Your Puppy.

It’s so hard not to greet your puppy with cuddles and let him kiss you all over. But affection is most affective when it’s used as a reward. It’ll help your puppy learn quickly how to behave- and in a healthy way. So after your puppy walks from his crate to the yard to pee, reward him with affection. When he resists jumping on the couch, reward him with affection. When he walks by your side and follows you without pulling, reward him with affection. Affection can come in a variety of forms from physical touch (petting, back massages, chin scratches), to treats, to playtime, to verbal affirmation. But like most things in this world, everything should be done in moderation, so be careful and conscience of how you choose to reward him. Puppies are sensitive to your energy-even a smile lets your puppy know he’s done well. And sometimes that’s all he needs to know he’s done a good job!

Need help training your puppy? Fluffs of Luv now offers Dog Training classes. For more information, visit FluffsofLuv.com or call (704) 421-3492.

By Deanna Morono